Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LoL Fans Are Too Darn Creative!

I was checking out the result of Riot Games' The Art of Revelry Contest for League of Legends and I was just so impressed with what I have seen. A majority of these artworks look quite expensive and most importantly, they are truly imaginative. The representation of the characters also looks a lot better than the game's splash art but that should be expected because you don't want those to be too fancy because they need to be in line with the actual in-game character models. My personal favorite is actually not made by the grand prize winners, but the one done by the third place winner, Ayanor, and of course, it immediately became my desktop background:

Beauty in subtlety.

What I love the most about this one is that it is a quieter piece compared to the rest shown. The colors are a little muted to complement that and there are not too many champions being crammed onto the scenery, thus avoiding things from being too forced. And the whole idea of Morgana and Karma having tea together with Morgana dressed up in a Kimono? Beautiful... I have tears in my eyes. And that special item in Karma's hand? Brilliant. Congratulations to all the winners. Click here to check out the result for yourself and download your favorite. Even if you are not a fan of the game, I am sure you can still appreciate the tremendous efforts that were put into the creation of these artworks.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bald Rogue Who Smells Like a Corpse

When it comes to customizable characters in video games, I truly despise bad looking hair. It's like the graphics artists who were involve in making these games just don't know how to make 3D hair models. I believe that for the most part, they just don't understand that the representation of hair in a game doesn't have to be realistic. It's just that they just have to look and animate nicely. Let me give you several examples from popular titles of what I consider to be good and bd video game hair:

a) Vanessa's not even manly default hair versus Sarah's gorgeous default ponytail in Virtua Fighter 5.

b) Lili's long but flat default hair versus Zafina's short but slick default hair in Tekken 6.

c) Soraka's diseased mushroom ponytail versus Heimerdinger's healthy afro in League of Legends.

I was hoping that after the hair disappointment found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning would provide better hair options but that is not the case. I didn't pay attention to it when I played the demo via Steam but now that I am playing the game on the PlayStation 3 as a rental from GameFly, I realize that none of the hair available is good enough for my female character. So you know what that means... Bad hair, equals a bald character!

It's smooth and shiny with no possibility of stubble growth...

Games Played 02/20/2012 - 02/26/2012

- 02/20/2012 -
Bad Apples: Battle Harvest - iPad
Doraemon Fishing HD - iPad
Freezing Birds - iPad
Jungool - iPad
Phoenix HD - iPad
Sleepy Jack HD - iPad
Unstoppable Gorg - iPad

- 02/21/2012 -
League of Legends - PC

- 02/22/2012 -
Eternal Legacy HD - iPad
League of Legends - PC

- 02/23/2012 -
League of Legends - PC
Photo Dojo - NDS
Mario Kart 7 - 3DS
Mirror's Edge - iPad
Nano Assault - 3DS

- 02/24/2012 -
League of Legends - PC
Mario Kart 7- 3DS
Really Big Sky - PC

- 02/25/2012 -
DariusBurst: Second Prologue - iPad
League of Legends - PC
Really Big Sky - PC

- 02/26/2012 -
DariusBurst: Second Prologue - iPad
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD - iPad
League of Legends - PC
Really Big Sky - PC
Sam & Max 101: Culture Shock - PC

Friday, February 24, 2012

GameFly: Where Do You Think You're Going?

So I have tried GameFly before and thought it was okay. I already knew that it would impact the way that I normally access my Game Library but I went ahead to give it another go late last month. After renting just three games - I didn't even get to the end of them all, including Final Fantasy XIII-2 for the PlayStation 3 and Gears of War 3 for the X-Box 360 -  I decided to just cancel my subscription again yesterday. But GameFly was very insistent about me staying, unlike Microsoft and its X-Box LIVE Gold membership. When I clicked on the cancel link, they immediately offered a free month deal if I decided to not cancel my subscription and I was like, "What? Well, okay!". Since I am a control freak, I have already returned the two games I rented on Tuesday and I was just waiting for them to receive the games before I hit that cancel button.

If I had anticipated that deal, I would have kept FFXIII-2 because it is a very good game - I was about 30-40 hours in. I am saving that save file of course but I am not sure if the continuation of play will come from rental or ownership. The real question however is whether or not I want to keep GameFly beyond this supplemental subscription time. Perhaps it takes more than a month to get used to the idea of renting games and that GameFly knows this. I am not getting my hopes up though because I realize one thing: Having the amount of games that I have doesn't necessary make me want to go out there and rent games. But the good thing here is that GameFly is really making me even more aware that I have a lot of games at home that I should be paying more attention to.

I may feel sad about FFXIII-2 but at at least now I am getting Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let's Go Teemo!

Teemo, the Swift Scout, in League of Legends for the Personal Computer was the first champion that I was really hooked on when I first started playing the game. The allure of Teemo is that he is small and cute despite having a poisonous disposition all the while having one awesome ultimate ability in the game: the exploding, invisible mushrooms that you can scatter all over the darn map. It must be strange then that I do not own an alternate skin for the champion all this time - well, those days are over because I have now unlocked the "Super Teemo" skin that is currently on sale in the Riot Store!

When flying, Teemo gets 100 times cuter!

Teemo used to have horrible color swap skins for a long period of time but he has since been granted access to some ridiculously cute outfits. Super Teemo is certainly very adorable because of that cape and his flying animation when using the "Move Quick" ability but the best Teemo skin is actually the "Astronaut Teemo" which I do plan on getting if it ever gets discounted below the $5 mark. But hey, that Easter Bunny skin is rather irresistible as well...

Who would want to kill such a cute creature of nature?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our New Family Member

For a long while, the spouse and I used to argue over getting a dog or a cat for our household. It doesn't help that we were both quite partial to each animal, the spouse is a dog person while I am more of a cat person. I don't have any problems with dogs though and of course that becomes a loophole when it comes to the process of compromising. We both had a long discussion over the idea of adopting a dog over the President's Day weekend and on Saturday, we even went to a local pet shelter to look at both the cats and dogs that they have available for adoption. We were quite surprised that the both of us actually fell in love with "Jennifer", a 2 year old Chihuahua Mix. We both have been looking at so many different dogs over the years and we could never come to a consensus before. We left that day empty handed because we wanted to make sure that we were ready to commit. It would probably be easier for me at least to adopt a cat because they are so independent thus cat care takes less responsibility.

You can say goodbye to the shelter sweetie, because you are coming home with us!

Well, by Monday, we both decided that we were definitely ready. It was actually quite scary when we went to the pet shelter today because we were afraid that someone else already snatched Jennifer up. Thus, we got there early - we both have the day off - and as soon as we submitted the application in, the couple who stood in line behind us actually wanted to adopt her as well. Yikes, now that was close. We were able to take her home after all the paperwork was done.

The spoiling begins?

This is a new adventure for me because I never own a dog before. I used to have quite a number of cats, but no dogs. The spouse went through 3 dogs growing up so at least I have some point of reference here. So far, Jennifer has been such a darling and we couldn't have asked for a better dog. She's a quiet little thing and is very, very shy. It looks like she is more attached to me than the spouse, which I found to be a bit surprising. We love everything about her except of course for that name and we have both agreed to call her "Yoshi" instead. To me, I can associate with that name because of its video game reference and the spouse likes the name because of its reference to one of our dinner dates at a sushi restaurant - it's a long story. Well, Yoshi, welcome to the family. You know that we will be showering you with a lot of love. Not only that, you also gain full access to my Game Room! Exciting isn't it?

Hm, I don't think Yoshi is interested in gaming whatsoever.

Rhythm Heaven Fever Wallpaper Goodness

While waiting for ny copy of Rhythm Heaven Fever for the Nintendo Wii to arrive in my rough manly hands, I was curious to check out the official website for the game. I got an email from Nintendo introducing me to the website a while back but I haven't gotten to it until now. I was so impressed with the orgasmic burst of sound and color that popped out of the speaker and screen once I arrived there. Nintendo worked really hard to make this site really attractive. You can check it for yourself by clicking here.

Visiting the page will bring you happy feelings.

What's cooler however is that there are a couple of goofy goodness you can get out of the site. The first being the beautiful, beautiful wallpapers that you can download for your personal use. The simplistic art of the game translated really well as a desktop background and there are plenty of them to choose from. Then, there is the "Join the Groove" page where visitors can use their webcams to upload a video of themselves grooving to the game's music. It looks like the videos will be reviewed by Nintendo before they are added into the mix but if you are wondering whether or not yours truly uploaded his video there, well, why don't you head on over to that page and check it out for yourself.

Perfect! I'm loving it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Games Played 02/13/2012 - 02/19/2012

- 02/13/2012 -
Gears of War 3 - X-Box 360
Phoenix HD - iPad

- 02/14/2012 -
Galaga 30th Collection - iPad
Heroes of Newerth - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 02/15/2012 -
Dance Masters - X-Box 360
League of Legends - PC

- 02/16/2012 -
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
The King of Fighters XIII - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC

- 02/17/2012 -
A Pew Pew Land II HD: The Ultimate Defense Game+ - iPad
League of Legends - PC
Phoenix HD - iPad
Pizza vs. Skeletons Free - iPad
Reckless Racing HD - iPad

- 02/18/2012 -
League of Legends - PC
Reckless Racing HD - iPad
Saqqarah HD Lite - iPad
Sentinels 3: Homeworld - iPad
Space Falcon Reloaded Free - iPad
Zombie Area! Free - iPad
- 02/19/2012 -
League of Legends - PC
Metal gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D Demo - 3DS
Parsec - iPad
Pirate Gunners - iPad
Sentinels 3: Homeworld - iPad
Sleepy Jack HD - iPad
Temple Run - iPad

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Ease of iOS Inductions

The President's Day weekend has brought slong with it some rather interesting game promotions in the App Store for the iOS. This is all new to me of course and I learn that some games can even receive a 100% discounts and are just given away for free during the limited promotion period. I was like really? Why can't games be given out for free like this everywhere else? Well, we know that the costs of these games are usually next to nothing but you would think that the developers would still like to get some amount of cash flowing in. But as we all know, just because they are free, it doesn't make them good and I noticed that some of these free games actually mandate some heavy micro-transactions to take full enjoyment from them - these games should have been made free in the first place because of the amount of cash you would be spending while playing them. Still, I was able to find two great games this holiday weekend that can be enjoyed fully for the wonderful price of $0.00.

It's simple, it's addicting... and it has pirates!

Pirate Gunner HD by Black Pearl Games is a puzzle game where you try to connect the fuses to the pirate ships cannons in an effort to blow away your opponents. Most of the fun can be experienced with the arcade mode where you make the attempt to get the highest score possible but the game even includes a goofy story mode. I really like that you get to see the fighting on the top portion of the screen but the puzzle panel itself is nicely animated as well.

The action doesn't match the "invasion" storyline but it's still fun.

Though the first and the second games are also being offered to us for free this weekend, I only downloaded Sentinel 3: Homeworld by Origin8 because it is the only game in the series that is a universal app - which basically means that it can look pretty on the iPad. It's another futuristic tower defense game but what's interesting about this one is that it has a level up system for your commander unit where you can increase your statistics as you see fit. The game itself doesn't look all that great but it is a fun tower defense game that offers plenty of gameplay modes and difficulty levels.

You can download Pirate Gunner HD by clicking here and Sentinels 3: Homeland by clicking here. These games will only be free for a limited amount of time so make sure you get them before the promotion period ends.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Have a Feeling You Don't, Microsoft!

So I am in a good mood tonight. You know, the kind of good mood where you feel like spending some hard earned cash to end the weekdays and to celebrate the incoming holiday weekend on a high note. The first thing I considered doing was getting Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning from Steam on the Personal Computer but then, I was reminded of my $39.99 price commitment. I was so tempted but I knew that I should wait on that game. Then, I went to check my email and saw a promotional message from Microsoft:

Really? You really do?

As you may know, I have left LIVE Gold for a long time and I don't plan on getting back to it but wow, good job Microsoft for sending the email to me at the right moment in time. You guys should give whoever involved in this promotion a raise. "We'd love to have you back..." it claimed. I mean, they were really stroking my ego there and my desire to be wanted and to belong. Thus, I clicked on the link that stated that I would "Get a great deal on Xbox LIVE Gold..." and that took me to this wonderful page:

What? Really? I thought you loved me?

Wow, you almost had me Microsoft. I don't know what kind of savings you had planned but whatever it was, I really was willing to pay for it. Well, you blew it big time. This is probably a good thing because I would have regretted getting back on that stupid service when I wake up in the morning tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All Digital Download: The Time is Now

Every so often, I like to move things around in my Game Room. The reasons behind this may vary: sometimes, I would do it to clear up space, to reorganize things, or to help defeat boredom. The latest reshuffle that happened a couple of days ago was definitely prompted by boredom. What I did was basically move my futon to the side of the room and place a chair where the futon used to be in front of the entertainment center. I have done this configuration before but what I noticed this time while moving things around was the large amount of space that was actually needed to accommodate the many video games I have.

Is there such thing as too many video games?
When it comes to their physical forms, yes, there is such a thing.

Just imagine, if things are going to continue like this for the next 5 years, it will be impossible for me to fit any more console games into my Game Room. At least I don't have to worry about games for the Personal Computer since everything is exclusively inducted in digital download format for me these days but still, if I am to keep up with console gaming, I am afraid I may get be buried alive by their imposing physical presence. I seriously think that it's time that all video games carry no physical forms anymore. I really want to see that before I pass on from this world. Developers, cut the cost involved in producing physical representations of your video games and make this video gaming universe a much better place. We are in the year 2012. It's time.

I just want to see all the games I have on a display. If only there
was a way to turn all my physical games into data crammed inside a digital storage device.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DanceMasters - Best Kinect Game Ever?

Ah, the Kinect. The expensive add on for the X-Box 360 that sits on top of my gaming display that doesn't see much use these days. When I got home from spending a romantic Valentine's Day dinner with the spouse, I thought I'd relax with some Kinect action. The game of choice? Dance Masters that hasn't been touched ever since I inducted it into my Game Library in November of last year.

You want a experience a "Night of Fire"? Then you need to fire up this game.

I feel silly now for not playing this game sooner. This dancing game is surely the best Kinect game in existence. Let me describe the basic mechanics of the game and then I will list down the reasons why this thing is a motion gaming masterpiece. Basically, you have to mimic the movements of the dancers in the game who are dancing so delectably on beat with the selected music. There are several types of motions you must mimic and these include hand swipes, feet taps, and body postures. It's different from Dance Central because it's faster and more fluid in its dance routines. Now let's get to the goods:

1) Best looking graphics in a Kinect game. The lead dancers look flashy in their fashion forward outfits. The dance moves are so flamboyant, it's almost comedic but strangely, making your body move that way feels very satisfying.

2) You actually have to watch the dancing carefully at higher difficulties to ensure you are getting a perfect score. There's no tutorial on how to do the slick moves shown on screen so you have to have to learn each unique routine by playing the game over and over and over again.

3) The game records your entire performance during the songs and then place the footage into the game as back up dancers when you play the game again. It's creepy, it's weird, and it's quite hilarious to see clones of yourself dancing along with you and the game characters in the background.

4) Creepier still is the ability to attach a digital mask to your face on screen. The masks themselves are the types that you would often see worn by raving lunatics. Sometimes, the mask doesn't even stick to you when you are tilting your head in extreme directions.

5) The pop songs found in the game are extremely infectious and ridiculously addicting. And that Geisha song... Oh so delicious!

6) Even with the fast and varied the movements involved in the dancing, the full body tracking is still seriously accurate.

7) The game gives you the ability to travel into a Parallel Universe. No, I am not even kidding!

8) The game was able to enthrall the spouse who ended up participating in the whole madness.

It is safe to say that I had a blast playing this game tonight, dancing and laughing all the way to exhaustion. I was able to convince the spouse to dance with me and I suggested that the both of us should play this game for at least half an hour a day as an aerobic exercise since it is easy to get into the game and start the sweating process. If you have a Kinect, get this game now!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Games Played 02/06/2012 - 02/12/2012

- 02/06/2012 -
Catherine - PlayStation 3
Darkness Rush - iPad
Don't Run with a Plasma Sword - iPad
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
Zenonia 4 - iPad

- 02/07/2012 -
Baseball Superstar 2012 - iPad
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
Illusia - iPad
League of Legends - PC

- 02/08/2012 -
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - PC
Falling Fred - iPad
Jetpack Joyride - iPad
League of Legends - PC
Running Fred - iPad

- 02/09/2012 -
League of Legends - PC
Running Fred - iPad
Scoregasm Demo - PC
Unstoppable Gorg - iPad

- 02/10/2012 -
League of Legends - PC
Phoenix HD - iPad
Unstoppable Gorg - iPad

- 02/11/2012 -
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC
Phoenix HD - iPad
Unstoppable Gorg - iPad

- 02/12/2012 -
DariusBurst: Second Prologue - iPad
Don't Run with a Plasma Sword - iPad
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - PC
League of Legends - PC
Phoenix HD - iPad

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: DariusBurst - Second Prologue

When I recently got into iOS gaming with my iPad 2, I knew that I would be quite content with being able to tap into the Cave shoot-'em-up releases but I would never have thought that I would be able to play something like this on the device. I am of course referring to the recently released DariusBurst: Second Prologue that was developed by Pyramid and published by Taito. And this is not just a mere cash-in for shmup starved iOS players either for it an excellent game that is the ported from the latest entry into the series that was previously available exclusively for the PlayStation Portable in Japan.

Plenty of fish in the sea.

The game is a sidescroller and it features several branching stages. There are only 5 stages that you will be playing through, which is shorter than what I'd come to expect from a Darius game but at least there are those multiple paths to get to the end of the game. Thankfully, the questionable length is not that big of a problem because the game's scoring system will keep you wanting to keep playing it. This revolves around the burst system, which is a super-powered attack that you can unleash as long as you have the Burst gauge charged. Using Burst attacks increases the multiplier bonus of killing of a chained group of enemies and a strategic use of it can also trigger a powerful Burst Counter that also boosts your score rate. It's fun to figure out the enemy patterns in each stage and plan out your attacks accordingly. Collecting power-ups is very important in this game because you want to be able to maxed out your shots, missiles, and shield to prepare yourself for the final boss battle. Speaking of the bosses, DariusBurst: SP got a mean selection of them and true to the series, they are all mechanical abominations of the innocent marine life that inspired them. Some of them are utter monstrosities, as in they take up the entire half of the screen, and are a lot of fun to fight against. It is disappointing however that despite the branching paths, you fight against the same four bosses for the first four stages and only the last stage features a unique, stage-specific boss thus the game has four different final bosses.

The bosses are brilliantly designed. Wish there were a lot more of them though.

The touch control works great with the game. Your ship shoots automatically and you only have to worry about moving it around by sliding your finger on the screen. You do have the option to toggle the auto shot on and off as well as the ability to move the shot and burst button to the location that suits you. Adding the option of double tapping to trigger Burst attacks would have been nice however. I also wish that those buttons can be moved towards the black bar at the bottom of the screen to clear up the gameplay area or that the HUD are placed inside the black bar at the top since the game itself doesn't take up the entire screen of the iPad. Despite these little imperfections, this has become my favorite iOS shmup thus far. I love it more than the Cave games I own - perhaps because I didn't get ESPGaluda II HD here since I already have that game on the X-Box 360. You may be quite shocked by that asking price of $10.99 but this game is certainly worth more than that. There are 4 unique ships that you can choose from and three different game modes. Then, there are also an unlockable gallery that features both 2D artwork and 3D models found in the game. The 3D graphics are very beautiful and you also get to enjoy the game's strange, offbeat, and exotic soundtrack courtesy of Zuntata! DariusBurst: SP is the kind of the game that I would love to see more on the iOS, specifically the iPad. I look forward to see what Taito will bring to the iOS next.

Lots of pretty sights to see in this game. It certainly looks quite expensive.

RATING: 4 out of 5

Saturday, February 11, 2012

January 2012 Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 89

That must be a record breaking number but this high increase stemmed from my latest excursion into the world of iOS gaming with my recently acquired iPad 2. Of course most of these games are the "lite" versions or demos as well as ones that are free to play - most of later ended up being the ones you can't enjoy without spending real cash however. I was in that wild quest to find games as starters for my iOS game library and I am sure that this particular platform will continue to flourish towards the end of the year.

Just shy of one day to complete a full month of playtime domination, League of Legends for the Personal Computer has once again claimed the top spot of the most played game of the month. I was almost certain that January 2012 was the month when the game would be played every single day but alas, that was not the case. I am sure it will happen sometime this year though and it may even happen several times throughout the year.

Because of the iPad excitement from last month, it shouldn't be surprised then that two of the second most played games last month were Bug Princess and Dodonpachi Resurrection. The real surprise however came from Bejeweled 3 for the PC, which is possibly one of the most addictive puzzle games that I have ever played. Just try playing that Diamond Mine mode... You will never be able to stop digging after that.

The third place spot is occupied by two Nintendo games: Mario Kart 5 and Photo Dojo. I have mostly been playing the offline mode for the former. I have only tried playing it online once but I want to complete all the offline cups first before I revisit multiplayer again. As for Photo Dojo, I have been wanting to get the game for a long while but because I didn't want to get a DSi - which ended up being a very smart decision - I missed out on it when it was free to download. It's still worth getting it now however. Even though it's a simple beat 'em up, watching yourself as well as other people or objects doing the fighting from the photos taken via the handheld's camera is just plain hilarious.

This Month's Inductees:

Total Inductions: 23

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Plea from an Old Friend

I receive this email from my old friend Maya today. Apparently, she has been quite concerned about me. I haven't been doing any exercise regiment and that of course makes this plea from her even more powerful. The real question now is this: Do I dare get abused by this woman again (for my own good)?

The torture returns... I think I may be in trouble if I say no to this.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Tester 3: Tested and Failed

So apparently, the third season of Sony's The Tester 3 has kicked off. I don't like the concept of this stupid game show - you know it's really not about video games - and the only time that I watched it was during last season because I was trying to win myself some hot prizes. No, this show is not about video gaming credibility. It's a popularity contest, a survival horror, and it's annoyingly casted (as in meticulously planted) with different gaming persona stereotypes in that attempt that you may be able to associate yourself with one of these contestants - I tried last time and I couldn't. We can see right through you Sony. And the winner? Well, yeah, they get to be a... tester? Isn't it a bit inconsistent of you to use this long "interview" process to hire an associate when others get through fine just via professional means? The Tester is juvenile, stupid, and desperate. Don't believe me? Well, they have resorted to cockroaches... You know that it's really, really, really bad when you have to use cockroaches:

Are we filming a new Saw movie? Oh this is the new Fear Factor? I am confused.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Skyrim with the High Resolution Texture Pack

The high resolution texture pack that was just released earlier today for the Personal Computer version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim does improve upon the visual impact of the game. You can see more detail and clarity on the game's texture works, giving a definitively sharper visual fidelity to the proceedings. The character faces look noticeably more defined as well. Now if Bethesda can implement DirectX 11 into the game to help out with some of the unsightly geometric shapes, we'll be all set! This texture pack is a must download, assuming that you PC is powerful enough to handle the new graphical demands. Thanks to this graphical boost, I am now playing the game once again.

Which bed would you rather sleep on? Click to enlarge.

Before: Super smudgy.

After: Extra comfy.

The Real Skyrim is Here?

Today, Bethesda software has released the official creation kit for the Personal Computer version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - the Steam Workshop is going to make this such a big deal because it is going to be very easy and convenient for us to download all the new mods and contents - and with it, they added a nice surprise: a free high resolution texture pack! I'm glad that I wasn't driving when I learned of that because I would have smashed right into a tree. I have been very harsh on this game when it comes to the graphics for the PC version because even though it looks better than the console releases, it is just not fully optimized on the platform. It's better late than never though preferably, it should have been a given at launch but still, if things are much improved graphically after this patch, I will finally be able to forgive Bethesda for their laziness because as we all know, if they only had to worry about the PC version of the game, Skyrim would have been a completely different beast. The pack is 3+GB and I will report on its visual impact later on today.

Thank you for wanting to correct your mistakes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Games Played 01/30/2012 - 02/05/2012

- 01/30/2012 -
Bejeweled 3 - PC
The King of Fighters XIII - PlayStation 3
Fishdom H2O: Hidden Odyssey - PC
Rochard - PC
Sam & Max 101: Culture Shock - PC

- 01/31/2012 -
Dodonpachi Resurrection - iPad
Kingdom Rush HD - iPad
League of Legends - PC

- 02/01/2012 -
Asphalt 6: Adrenaline - iPad
Catherine - PlayStation 3
Dodonpachi Resurrection - iPad
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
Kingdom Rush HD - iPad
League of Legends - PC
Super Mario 3D Land - 3DS
4 Elements - PC

- 02/02/2012 -
Dodonpachi Resurrection - iPad
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC
Nano Assault - 3DS
Rayman Origins - PlayStation 3

- 02/03/2012 -
Dodonpachi Resurrection - iPad
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC
Shogun: Rise of the Renegade - iPad

- 02/04/2012 -
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC
Lep's World HD - iPad
Phoenix HD - iPad

- 02/05/2012 -
Batman: Arkham City - PC
Darkness Rush - iPad
Dodonpachi Resurrection - iPad
Doodle Devil Lite - iPad
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC
Monsters Ate My Condo - iPad
Phoenix HD - iPad
Shmup Lite - iPad
Shogun: Rise of the Renegade - iPad

Sunday, February 5, 2012

StreetPass Tag Excitement!

I was beginning to accept the notion that no one else in Northern California, or at least the city that I reside in, carry their Nintendo 3DS around with them. I try to everywhere I go and this activity is further encouraged by the hard case I got for the handheld not too long ago. Well, I was caught by surprise this morning when I unzipped the hard case and saw the flashing green light on my 3DS. The notification stated that I finally got my first Mii Plaza StreetPass tag! And the fun didn't just stop there, it ended up being two of them actually.

That took like what, almost two months?

Here's the funny thing about this: the notification stated that I received these tags around 5pm yesterday. Now, I have taken my 3DS to the airport, to fancy restaurants, as well as the electronic stores so who would have guessed that I would be able to get the tags from... a Bell Air supermarket. I guess I will be accompanying you in your grocery shopping more often from now on hun.

The little conversations between the Miis are so cute.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dumb Bots Can Be Fun Bots

The bots in League of Legends are dumb. There's certainly no other way to describe them. Even the recent bot update couldn't change that very fact. The funny thing about this however is that whenever I play the Co-Op vs. AI mode, we human players normally do some pretty stupid things ourselves because we expect these bots to be so completely helpless. Unintentionally, this usually resulted in extremely funny and somewhat surreal moments when the planets suddenly seem to be aligned for the bots and all of a sudden they get to pull off some slick moves themselves.

Take this situation for example. The bots are pushing the bottom lane together and my team started to ambush them from in front and behind them, thus trapping them in the lane. You know that the bots can't make the proper decisions about what to do so some of them started fleeing away in an attempt to escape the ensuing massacre thus we were able to kill off three of them rather quickly. But we ourselves didn't focus our attention on the real threat in the bot's team composition: the Karthus bot. Not only that, our positioning was horrible and most of my team members were standing on top of Karthus' defile, which is a nasty area of effect damage over time spell. Then Leona Bot casted her ultimate, stunning and slowing four of my team members and all of a sudden... Karthus Bot with a quadra kill! It's the hilarious situations such as this one that keeps me coming back to fighting the bots. Sure, unless you are not paying attention whatsoever or that you are playing with people who are brand new to the game, it is impossible to get beaten by the bots. But that doesn't mean that you will not have a good time watching them struggle and you know that we all need a good laugh every once in a while.

That Karthus Bot will definitely be bragging to his bot friends about this one.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Life as a Queen

I have been experimenting with range physical damage dealers in League of Legends for the Personal Computer recently, taking a much needed break from my usual support/horror/fear Soraka. It's not that I have not played them before but I like being the passive aggressive in the team instead of being the main damage dealer. I started off playing LoL as a DPS Teemo for a very long time and then I revisited that role as Miss Fortune when she was introduced to the roster in 2010 and then as Caitlyn when she arrived later in early 2011. My favorite in this recent experimentation has to be Ashe, the Frost Archer. Her ultimate, where she fires a large arrow that can fly across the entire map is a really fun ability, especially when it hits the target after travelling from a very long distance. And what luck! One of her skins is on sale at the moment so I decided to go ahead and unlock it since I will be playing her more often now.

So very regal. But Ashe, please don't say that you
married that brute Tryndamere only for political reasons...

Bow down before your Queen wife! Yes, make both of those arms equally strong Tryn!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: The Woman

The Woman (2011)
Genre: Horror
Director: Lucky McKee

Some people just cannot handle a strong feminist message, though delivered in such cruel, unapologetic way. That would be the reason why this infamous audience reaction clip happened. Lucky McKee is back again with another strange tale involving displaced women in modern society and this time around, he has teamed up directly with the prolific horror author Jack Ketchum. This pairing resulted in one deliciously dark concoction of character drama and potent horror that both of them are already known for and mastered.

The Woman referred to the last surviving member of a cannibal clan from Jack Ketchum's previous works who has found solace living in a small cave in a forest. A lawyer saw her bathing in the river one day and decided to bring her back to his home in an attempt to return her to a civilized life. After having her chained up inside a cellar, he then introduced her to his three kids and wife and informed them that they will have to work together to save this woman. What follows is an investigation into the lawyer's fascinating family dynamics that has been further shaken by the arrival of the woman. The movie takes its sweet time to build up the tension and the woman mostly becomes an observer who watches over how the family reacts to each other as well as the way that they all react to her. The movie uses slow fades between scenes very often, giving it a languid and almost relaxed feel but it also hints at something sinister lurking in the shadows. When all hell breaks lose, you will not be given time to breathe and by then, your perception of the reality of the situation have all but shattered into pieces.

The movie doesn't shy away from its foul treatment of the female sex but that is not without its cause. It's clear that female empowerment is the goal here but that also means that passiveness has no value in The Woman. You are either a victim or a survivor and there is a clear, visible line to distinguish the two. The ending is really messy and there's much to empathize about but strangely, it can still be considered as a good closure, especially considering the situation at hand. Wonderfully casted, masterfully written, and stylishly filmed: The Woman is definitely one of the best horror movies ever made.

RATING: 5 out of 5

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

That FFXIII - It Makes Me Cry

As you may still remember, I couldn't get to the final moment of Final Fantasy XIII for the PlayStation 3 because of a horrible unforeseen circumstance. I was so close to the end but it was just not meant to be. I wanted to start fresh again on that game recently but I just couldn't get myself back to it. Well, now that Final Fantasy XIII-2 arrived via GameFly, I finally got a much needed closure for the first game thanks to the "Beginner's Primer" option that is available on the main menu of the game. In it is the fully-voiced summary of the story from the first game, separated by chapter. I went through each chapter and I was reminded again why XIII is my favorite game in the series, story-wise. Then, I got to "Chapter 13" where I left the game and finally learning what happened at the end of the game shocked me. I just couldn't believe how powerful the ending is. This of course makes me want to revisit the first game again eventually so that I can get the full impact of that mesmerizing climax. I am not going to spoil anything here of course but I am very, very impressed with how things turned out in the end for that game. Alright, now I am finally ready to embark on the sequel! I really hope that this game is going to be as good as its predecessor.

I never saw that coming... What a highly emotional twist!

League of Legends: Rise and Fall of the Bot Army

The "Rise of the Bot Army" improvement has finally been released in today's Ziggs patch for League of Legends on the Personal Computer so I was excited to jump into a Co-Op vs. AI match this morning. The fact that the difficulties available for them are still being categorized as "Beginner" and "Intermediate" did worry me though and it ended up that my concern was warranted. Though the team composition for the bots is now varied because of the large pool of champions that the bots can choose from, the intelligence of these computer players are still rather poor. As a matter of fact, I didn't see anything that they are doing differently than the previous bots.

Yes, that Jax Bot actually jumped into a 5 versus 1 fight and we ripped him to pieces.

Am I disappointed? Yeah, I am. Of course the real pleasure of this game is a match with another team of human players but fighting against the bots usually brings out the goodness in your teammates so encountering rudeness is at a minimal here. All that we need are smarter bots to give us a good challenge worthy of human players. Perhaps that's too much to ask for but please keep improving them Riot Games! Oh well, at least you can fight bots in the Dominion mode now too - except that no one else seems to be queueing to play it.

A real massacre and it's not all that satisfying.

Update Note: 10:30am - Just completed one Dominion match with the new bots. Apparently, there was a server problem earlier preventing players to be matched up. Unfortunately, the bots also didn't fare so well in Dominion.